Tenth anniversary of Budapest Open Access Initiative
This week is the tenth anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the declaration which coined the term “open access” and spelled out a strategy for achieving free and open access to academic research. Melissa Hagemann, who helped convene the meeting that led to the declaration, reflects on ten years of championing the Open Access movement, while Cameron Neylon of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) highlights the “remarkable prescience” of the original text.
BOAI | Hagemann | Neylon
ACTA protests take place across Europe
Last weekend, thousands of people took part in pan-European protests against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a multilateral treaty negotiated largely in secret that threatens to take intellectual property enforcement standards beyond internationally-agreed norms. Lobbyists for rightsholders groups have written to the European Parliament, which will begin considering whether to accept the treaty at the end of this month, urging members to to ignore popular concerns about ACTA and dismissing criticisms as “misinformation”. European Digital Rights (EDRI) have issued a factsheet detailing major flaws in the information the European Commission is giving to the Parliament about the treaty.
Report | EDRI factsheet | Lobbyists’ letter
Iran: Internet access cut
Reuters reports on news that Iranian authorities “switched off” secure connections to websites hosted outside Iran over the weekend: “Many Iranians are concerned the government may be preparing to unveil its much documented national internet system, effectively giving the authorities total control over what content Iranian users will be able to access”.
Chile: Pressure on government to open up TPP negotiating process
(via Google Translate) The government in Chile have responded to mounting concerns raised by citizens that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international treaty with implications for access to knowledge and health, is being negotiated in secret and without input from civil society groups. Derechos Digitales reports that 3,500 Chilean citizens got in touch to express their concerns to the Chilean President and his advisers, just 12 hours after the launch of their campaign highlighting the TPP, “SOPA in Chile?”.
Thailand: Criminal trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn resumes
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reports on the resumption of the trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn (commonly known as Jiew) in Thailand this week. The free speech advocate and director of one of Thailand’s most popular alternative news sites has been charged under the country’s Lèse Majesté law, which criminalises defamation of Thai royalty, following allegedly defamatory comments left in the website’s comments section. Global Voices reports on civil society efforts inside Thailand to reform the law.
EFF | Global Voices
EU: Commissioner moves forward in favour of right to read for the blind
In a speech to the European Parliament this week, EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier has committed to seeking a mandate from EU Member States to negotiate a Treaty for the Visually Impaired (TVI) at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The development is significant since the European Commission had thus far opposed the idea of a binding instrument to ensure minimum standards for exceptions to copyright law that allow the reading-impaired to freely share adapted materials. The campaign for the TVI has been led by the World Blind Union (WBU) in collaboration with other civil society groups.
Link to this week’s speech (begins at 20:59:52) | Previous 2011 Commission position | More info on the TVI
India: “The war on the web is a war on us”
In this editorial for Tehelka magazine, Rishi Majumder uses two legal cases against Facebook and Google that are currently making their way through the Indian court system to warn that trends around regulation of content on the Indian web threaten citizens’ fundamental rights to liberty and due process.
Africa: Mobile Phones Will Not Save the Poorest of the Poor
This article for Slate magazine argues that mobile connectivity needs to be extended to the poorest regions of Africa in order to stay the growth of a widening digital divide: “While the technologies for dramatically lowering the cost of connectivity already exist, politicians and regulators have been unwilling to enact bold policies that would deploy innovative solutions and promote meaningful competition”.
Interview: Eric King
Privacy International’s Eric King speaks to me on the soros.org blog about his year spent sneaking into arms fairs to find out about the latest in digital surveillance technology being sold to authorities in repressive regimes.
Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development
The World Economic Forum have released a discussion note exploring the potential of big data to inform development projects, highlighting the need for “concerted action to ensure that this data helps the individuals and communities who create it”.
Syllabus: News and Participatory Media, MIT
Full syllabus of a new class taught by the head of MIT’s Center for Civic Media, Ethan Zuckerman: “Rather than exploring the history of journalism and challenges to existing models of news production, this class will consider the news as an engineering challenge”.
“The Meme is the message”: A curated history of the Grass Mud Horse song
Bloggers at the China-focussed design blog 88-bar provide a useful summary of the subtly subversive “Grass Mud Horse” Chinese internet meme: “On the heavily censored world of the Chinese internet, memes are often the only way to get a message out there”.